Thursday, 4 May 2017

Filtered Water Stations

The importance of drinking plenty of water, and the quality and source of that water is something I've learned about on my journey. There is plenty of information to be found these days on the topic. I've written a couple of previous posts here and here and this article, "The Cleanest Water On Earth? Hint: It's not Rainwater" covers the topic well.

Holidaying in Cairns I was excited to discover this in the City centre: a filtered water station to drink from or fill your water bottle!


I don't know if any other Councils are doing this. I do travel around Australia a bit, mostly in country areas, not the capital cities so much, but I've not seen this before. It is however something I have wished existed!

The disappointing part however is that nowhere on the filtered water station did it advertise the location of any other filtered water stations and, after quite a bit of Googling and browsing the website of the Cairns City Council, I could only find a reference to the installation of three filtered water stations buried in an article about the upgrade of the city centre. Nothing to tell me where they are located. I would have thought they'd be making a point of telling the public about this.

Over the course of two days during my meandering around the city I stumbled across the location of a second filtered water station in the CBD, but the location of the third remains a mystery. On my morning beach walks I did discover a further two filtered water stations located along the Cairns Esplanade. Judging by the length of the Esplanade I suspect there might be at least one other along there somewhere that I missed.


City and Shire Councils around Australia, if you're not already doing this, it's a fabulous idea that would be a step in the right direction for better health for us all!

~ take every opportunity to put the good stuff in ~
This blog is about me, what I'm doing, what's working for me, and what's not. It includes my experiences and opinions. It is for general information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of a health care professional.




Monday, 17 April 2017

Mini Sourdough Hot Cross "Buffins"

This recipe for Sourdough English Muffins is the sourdough recipe I use the most. I've tried to make loaves of sourdough but with needing to get the timing just right with the starter, and all the kneading and rising required, that can be an all weekend event! 

Fortunately we don't eat much "bread" these days, in fact my homemade sourdough is the only "bread" I eat. So I find these Sourdough English Muffins to be the easiest and a workable compromise of time spent in the kitchen. The recipe recommends that you sour the dough for at least eight hours but you can leave it for up to twenty-four hours which gives you a fair bit of flexibility with your day. I do find however that the dough is easier to work with around the eight hour mark.

I use these Sourdough English Muffins for hamburger buns or roll them out to make flatbread to use as a pizza base. I generally make a double batch every two or three weeks and keep a supply of flat breads and pre-split muffins in the freezer.

In honour of this weekend's Easter celebrations I made a batch and added sultanas and currents, honey (I leave the honey out for the hamburger buns and flatbread) a little cinnamon and nutmeg and made them into Mini Sourdough Hot Cross "Buffins".

I forgot to keep some of the dough aside to make the crosses so I used a mixture of cornflour, water and a little stevia instead. This didn't work out so well because as soon as I tried to split and butter the "buffins" the crosses broke and fell off. There is however a lesson to be learned here: don't forget the Cross. That is, after all, what Easter is all about.



Recipe Source: Traditional Cooking School
http://gnowfglins.com/2010/03/31/guest-post-sourdough-english-muffins/

~ take every opportunity to put the good stuff in ~
This blog is about me, what I'm doing, what's working for me, and what's not. It includes my experiences and opinions. It is for general information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of a health care professional.




Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Yeah . . . it Does Matter!

Portion control is an issue.


I met with a friend over a drink. My friend asked the bar attendant about their glass sizes and then ordered a beverage in a small-size glass. "Oh we only do that in a 400ml size" was the bar attendant's reply.

Like me you were probably taught as a kid to eat everything on your plate. "The poor starving kids in Africa would appreciate it", was often the response if we grumbled. Especially when we were dining as guests in someone else's home we were expected to eat everything put in front of us. It would be rude not to. I do think that it is appropriate to teach our children this when we are the ones controlling the type of food served and the portion size, but there is a time and a place....

In the Documentary, "That Sugar Film" Damon Gameau takes viewers to America to demonstrate the problem there with portion control with all their jumbo and up-sized serving options. While the problem seems to be worse in America it's going on here in Australia too. The traditional Aussie Pub meal with a steak or schnitzel that fills the whole plate, and it seems we consider it quite "macho" for men at least, to consume such a big meal! Then when those "macho men" dine at a much fancier restaurant where the portion sizes are far more sensible because the focus is on quality, not quantity, (but for some reason they serve the meals on huge plates?) they can be heard saying, "Where's the other half?"  Yes, you know who you are!

In Michael Pollan's Documentary "In Defense of Food" based on his book of the same title, they conducted an experiment where they gathered a group of people together for a smorgasbord meal. After everyone had served themselves suddenly they were stopped. An excuse was made about the food. I don't remember exactly what that was but they brought out more food and asked everyone to serve themselves again. This time the plates supplied were smaller. When everyone had returned to their seats for the second time, their attention was drawn to the lesser amount of food they had each served themselves when given a smaller plate.

Getting back to the bar attendant who told my friend that her chosen beverage could only be served in a 400ml size; it's not the bar attendant's fault. There is probably only a charge code on the register for the one size of that beverage. But this is part of what makes it difficult for us to control portion sizes.

When I go out to a restaurant I tend to feel obliged to eat everything on my plate. It probably stems from what I learned growing up but also because I, or someone I am dining with, is paying for the meal and it would be wasteful not to.

But my thinking is changing. I want to control what I put into my body, so now I give myself permission not to eat everything on my plate if it means that I am going to stuff myself silly to do so.

Until we can change the culture of the food service industry, we need to be bold and ask for alterations to a meal, ask for a smaller serving, even if it means still paying full price, and feel comfortable about leaving some food on our plate if it's too much.

Sources:
"That Sugar Film" http://thatsugarfilm.com/film/watch-now/
"In Defense of Food" http://www.pbs.org/food/shows/in-defense-of-food/m


~ take every opportunity to put the good stuff in ~
This blog is about me, what I'm doing, what's working for me, and what's not. It includes my experiences and opinions. It is for general information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of a health care professional.



Sunday, 22 January 2017

I Don't Have to Eat That!

Due to airport curfews in other domestic cities, and that lack of a curfew in my home city, the most common and most economical flights out of Darwin are at what the locals 'affectionately' call 'stupid o'clock'. That is flight departure times between 1:00am and 2:30am. It's a really awful time to fly and just messes with your body clock. I can never get much, if any, sleep on the plane. I really dislike it!

On a recent flight at said 'stupid o'clock' I wasn't hungry but I checked out the in-flight menu just because I was curious about what was offered. In the two-page spread labeled 'fresh foods' all I saw was refined carbohydrates! Bread and pastry, toast, more pastry, macaroni cheese, cake and crackers with cheese. The one attempt at something healthy was the inclusion of a low fat raspberry Greek yoghurt pouch. It all looked very unappealing. But in that moment I suddenly realised a positive of flying at 'stupid o'clock' - I don't need to eat! I don't usually eat in the middle of the night and to do so would mess with my digestive system. I don't have to eat airplane food!

Apologies for the poor quality photo

You can however bring your own food with you when you fly. As long as, for quarantine reasons, any fresh fruit is consumed before you disembark. I did this once on a flight to Perth a few years ago. That one wasn't a 'stupid o'clock' departure but must have been early enough in the morning that I knew they'd be serving breakfast. I have a container with a freezer pack section which is perfect for packing yoghurt and fresh fruit and keeping it cold for a few hours. When the in-flight service began I politely declined the hostess' offer of breakfast. The other passenger in my row purchased a muffin and a coffee. I then proceeded to unpack my BYO breakfast from my carry on bag. In my peripheral vision I could see the passenger with the muffin glancing over at me as I tipped my container of chopped fresh mango into a container of yoghurt and then stirred in some nuts and seeds. He looked at his muffin and back at my breakfast and eventually said "I should have done that too!"


~ take every opportunity to put the good stuff in ~
This blog is about me, what I'm doing, what's working for me, and what's not. It includes my experiences and opinions. It is for general information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of a health care professional.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Gourmet Brekky at the Office

I'm known at work for eating gourmet breakfasts at the office.

Quite a few of the staff come to work early and eat breakfast there. I do it because I live out of town a bit and like to beat the thicker traffic coming in, and to get what is becoming rare - a free parking spot!

So when others are tipping something from a box and pouring on milk, I'm tucking into a cooked breakfast!

There's been beef rissoles with boiled eggs, avocado and sauerkraut 


or leftover veggie pie, with avocado and sauerkraut 

 

or lately, inspired by an "I Quit Sugar" post, a kind of greens and scrambled eggs...with avocado and sauerkraut, just because I can't live without them!

I prepare the night before by cracking two free range eggs into a mason jar and whisk them with a fork. I add about a tablespoon of pure butter, chopped in a few pieces.

I buy a butter that is certified organic and comes from New Zealand. They say that the healthiest butter to have is from grass fed cows. It doesn't say "grass fed" on the packet, and I haven't been to New Zealand, I've only seen pictures, but I have been to Tasmania and seen the very content looking dairy cows in the lush green paddocks there. I figure that New Zealand would be very similar so the butter is probably pretty good.

Next I add a little grated cheese and a sprinkle of turmeric powder, because turmeric has great anti-inflammatory properties.

I like to sprinkle a little turmeric powder in lots of meals. I figure if small regular doses of chemicals and preservatives in processed foods can make us sick over time then small regular doses of great herbs and spices in real food will do wonders!

So where was I ... then as a minimum I top up the jar with mixed leafy greens and some fresh coriander, but sometimes I'll add other things.

I've done diced onion, just because I was chopping some up for dinner and thought I'll chuck a little
of that in.

I've also added sautéed broccolini and/or asparagus spears because I was doing some with dinner, and last night I had sautéed mushrooms and kale with dinner and saved a little of that for my gourmet
brekky jar.

Then that goes into the fridge overnight. In the morning I pack it with my lunch - usually dinner leftovers in another jar - into an insulated bag with some frozen ice packs for the journey into work.


At the office we have quite a well equipped little kitchen with a microwave.

I simply empty my brekky jar contents into a bowl, stir the mixture lightly with a fork and pop it into the microwave on medium power for around 4 minutes, stopping periodically to "scramble" the egg mixture with a fork. So at say 1 1/2 minutes, at 3 minutes,  and at 3 1/2 minutes. It can take a little longer if you have added the more bulky greens or if you add a little extra liquid. Sometimes I rinse the jar with the tiniest amount of water and tip that in so I'm not leaving half the turmeric powder on the side of the jar.

I then top my scramble and greens with avocado because it's a great fat source for hormone and skin health and sauerkraut because it's very nutritious, great for my gut health and a is digestive aid.


This is really very easy to do.

See, there's really no excuse for not having a delicious and nutritious cooked breakfast everyday!


~ take every opportunity to put the good stuff in ~
This blog is about me, what I'm doing, what's working for me, and what's not. It includes my experiences and opinions. It is for general information only and is in no way intended to replace the advice of a health care professional.